Alaska Part 3: More than just ice

The last day of the glacier course was spent on a cruise out of Whittier, AK into Prince William Sound. ¬†The cruise promised we’d see 26 glaciers in one day, but I’ll spare you more pictures of ice ūüôā ¬†Instead, I’d like to happily announce that our whale-watching luck has turned for the better. ¬†We saw whales for the second time in a row!

Humpback whale lunge feeding in Prince William Sound
Humpback whale lunge feeding in Prince William Sound

This humpback was lunge feeding, which is how you usually get the shots of the whale’s head coming out of the water. ¬†This guy was too close to the shore to clear the water so all we got was some fin, but it’s still spectacular watching these huge animals move in the water.

After the glacier course we headed up north from Anchorage to Denali National Park where Mt McKinley is located.  We stayed in a cabin near the park entrance that had an awesome view, despite the fact that it rained almost the entire time we were there.  Our view for most of the time looked something like this:

The view from our cabin's front door near Denali National Park
The view from our cabin’s front door near Denali National Park

There are more mountains hiding in the background, but I felt this was a pretty accurate representation of the weather while were there. ¬†Still awesome, though. ¬†For our only full day at the park we got up super early for an all day bus tour since you can only access most of the park roads by bus. ¬†It’s amazing how easy it was to get up early when the sun basically never sets! ¬†From the bus we saw all kinds of cool wildlife, including several moose, Dall sheep, golden eagles, and caribou. ¬†We even saw a female grizzly and her two cubs.

Brown bears in Denali Nat'l Park
Brown bears in Denali Nat’l Park

We got just past halfway to the end of the 92 mile park road when we were informed that the road had been washed out further along and we’d have to turn back. ¬†It was definitely a bummer but the trip was still worth it. ¬†There were plenty of mountains visible along the ride which made for spectacular views, but we didn’t get to see the big one. ¬†We had been told even before starting that only 30% of visitors ever get to see Mt McKinley due to poor visibility, so getting cut short before reaching that viewpoint wasn’t a total disappointment. ¬†Since we got cut short on the bus tour we had to go exploring for wildlife in what little bit of the park we could access on our own. ¬†In a chance on our last drive out of the park we met this guy:

Young bull moose in Denali Nat'l Park
Young bull moose in Denali Nat’l Park

I like to think he was saying goodbye and apologizing for the cloudy weather. ¬†The next day we drove back to Anchorage where it was of course sunny and beautiful out, but I suppose that’s just the way the weather goes in Alaska.